Your Voice Is An Instrument; Didn’t you know?

Dm beh dm-dm, dm-beh-dm, beh-dm-beh-dm-dm-dm….

Y’all probably like what the heck is wrong with Dom; is she scatting via blog post or what? But in reality, I was singing my female base part of Let Us Be Loving, circa 2012 with the one and only Vocal Rush: Rushette Edition. I’ll back track for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I am talking about. In high school I was introduced to the wonderful world of a capella music, and I am lucky enough to say that I am a founding member of one of the top high school a cappella groups in the country. Although I have not been a part of a vocal ensemble since college, I still indulge in my daily dose of a cappella. If you are still confused, allow me to break it down for you right quick.

To sing a cappella means to sing without instrumental assistance. No piano, no guitar, no sax, no nothing. Just you and your voice in its purest form, something like this. Now to sing in an a cappella group means you take it a step further. Your voice now becomes the instrument. Your voice now transforms into a musical device that can belt out chords whilst sounding like that sax, that piano, or those drums. I won’t spend my time educating you on how much our voices are capable of, but I will introduce you to some amazing a cappella groups that I just so happen to have personal, and/or spiritual connections with. First up, Pitch Slapped!

Pitch Slapped is an a cappella group comprised of students who attend Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA. When I tell you that these young mighty men and women of God have voices that will send you into glory, please believe me. They recently just dropped an album titled Complexion. On this album you will hear covers of songs by various artists such as, Brandy, Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly, Ariana Grande, and our dear friend Frank Ocean. As if their voices weren’t already good enough, majority if not all of their arrangements incorporate some aspect of jazz into them. Whether they choose to break it down at the bridge, or close out the song with a C maj7 chord progression, the way each voice meshes with the next brings a vibrating satisfaction to my ear canal. I had the privilege to sit in on one of their rehearsals whilst traveling with my own ensemble in 2016, and I fell in love. Just take a listen…

Now tell me that wasn’t amazing, try and tell me. It doesn’t matter because I still won’t believe you. Another favorite of mine is, yup, you guessed it, OSA’s Vocal Rush. I have literally seen this group grow, and develop an untouchable sound. From generation to generation the voices of VR get better and better. The group now has four International Championship (ICHSA) titles, the first being when I was in the group back in 2012! These talented group of high school students all attend Oakland School for the Arts, where they are enrolled in the Vocal department, and directed by Lisa Forkish, who is quite the vocalist herself. Look her up y’all!

The current group members also just released their latest all original album, 11,  that was written and composed by the students! Mind you, these are high school students, writing, singing, composing, and one day probably will be producing their own music. OSA births some legends okay! To have once been a part of something so magnificent means the world to me, and I am so honored to still be connected to old and new members as they come. Here is VR’s latest music video, and here is Let Us Be Loving–my generation of VR from way back when! Catch me in the floral pink shirt, glasses, and electric smile.

And last, but most certainly not least, Pentatonix. This group of five powerful voices have been seen on so many stages, and been featured in so many videos that I have lost count. They are a more well known a cappella group, and have done phenomenally well since winning the NBC show The Sing Off in 2011. Since their debut, they have released 5 albums/EP’s, and a couple of Christmas albums with their own arrangements of our all American Christmas cheer. I had the chance to meet them back in 2012, and I can honestly say that they are some of the most beautiful human beings that I have been able to come across. One of my favorite covers by this group is Radioactive, but my all time fav is from their second album PTX: Vol II. The song is titled Run to You, and I kid you not, the first time I heard it I was typing a paper in my dorm dropped everything and screamed down the hall of Crosthwaite at the musical glory! I’ve been known to be a bit of a chord junky, but when someone sings their life and emotions how can you blame me?!

Well, that’s all for now. I have plenty of other a cappella recommendations, so if you’d like more please let me know. I did you a favor and posted the links to stream each groups album that was mentioned above. Please, please, please go and support! I would never lead you all astray when it comes to music, so go let these albums bless your soul! It’s aca-awesome!

As always,

Let it be easy, and stay blessed.

-Dom

 

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